Fitbit Force activity tracker recalled over skin-related issues

By Alexandra Burlacu | Feb 22, 2014 08:35 AM EST

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Fitbit has stopped selling its Fitbit Force activity tracking wristband as users have complained about skin issues after wearing the device.

The gadget is designed to track the steps taken, the distance travelled, the stairs climbed, the calories burned, and the active minutes throughout the day. Several users, however, have reportedly experienced skin issues such as rashes, dry and itchy patches, and even blisters, after wearing the wristband, so the company recalled the Fitbit Force.

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In a new company blog post, Fitbit co-founder and CEO James Park acknowledged the situation and said that the company is recalling the device and issuing refunds. According to his statement, just 1.7 percent of Fitbit Force users reported skin-related issues, but the company has nonetheless decided to recall the product in order to look into the matter and determine what is causing the problems.

"Late last year, we began selling Fitbit Force, our most advanced activity tracker. Recently, some Force users have reported skin irritation. While only 1.7% of Force users have reported any type of skin irritation, we care about every one of our customers. On behalf of the entire Fitbit team, I want to apologize to anyone affected," stated the CEO.

Fitbit has reportedly hired medical experts and independent labs to conduct a "thorough investigation" into the matter. The test results have apparently ruled out a problem with the battery or electrical systems, but the issues could stem from the materials used in the manufacturing of Fitbit Force. The investigation has further revealed that some users are likely experiencing a reaction called allergic contact dermatitis. Others, meanwhile, may be affected by the nickel found in the surgical grade stainless steel, or the materials used in the strap. The adhesives used to assemble the device may also cause some allergic reaction.

"We have now learned enough to take further action. We have stopped selling Force and have decided to conduct a voluntary recall. We are offering a refund directly to consumers for full retail price," added the statement.

Fitbit will work on fixing these issues with its Force product soon, and has set up a dedicated web page for additional information regarding the recall. The company is also working on its next-generation tracker and promised to announce news about it soon.



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